TopBrick Now on it’s Own Site!

So I made this originally as a wordpress.com blog for 2 reasons – one I wasn’t sure if it’d be easy enough to make content for reviews weekly (i do have some other things planned, but this is primarily a review site)

I also wanted to judge if possibly by being on the wordpress directly if this would lead to increased focus and traffic because it’s associated with it (rather than being a standalone site, which is still powered by WordPress)

However because it seems I can handle the content, and I’d rather make the site less-blog like to help traffic – I’ve now moved to TopBrick.net and I look forward to continued efforts in reviewing!

Advertisements

Lego Bricks & More Farm Brick Box (4626) Review

farmbrickbox

Lego Bricks & More Farm Brick Box (4626): Another inclusion from my lot find, and this time another Bricks & More set. This one though lacks the parts of it’s big brother that I recently reviewed, and is also a bit older. I will say that I do like the tractor design from them, and it’s a little more diverse for part uniqueness as well.

 

Time to Knoll: 10 Minutes

IMG_0998

Time to Build: 12 Minutes

IMG_1006

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 232 and 48 Steps – Manual
  • Price: Retired on Lego (was 14.99) and $79.95 on Amazon
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 32mm x 80mm x 201.6mm or 516.1 cm³

IMG_1007

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So then accordingly while there are 232 pieces, 90 of them are unique. Now since some of these are a bit more esoteric looking for rarity seemed pointless – so I decided instead to see how many pieces this set could be spread across. The mindset there is hey maybe you’re missing some pieces for your set, hmm I wonder how many sets I could potentially get that last piece with this one single box for (what was) a low price.

legoexcel

Mhmm data

The answer is surprisingly 3,232 sets (as of the date this was published of course). Now most of that is actually because there’s a bit of crossover. Thankfully from Brickset I was able to get CSV data and there were actually a total of 17,162 sets. However removing duplicates and we get back to 3,232. I would also like to congratulate myself for going at least 5 reviews before breaking out Excel. (which if you want drop me a note in the comments.)

 

Remix: So in light of me last time doing a similar pieceset, I still had to contend with the doors and house pieces. So for this I decided to make an accident. If I’m honest this isn’t the most spiritual in terms of a remix (even for a set like this where it’s more open), but I wanted to build a little race car.

IMG_1008

 

Final Thoughts: I think my biggest dislike of this is that there’s really not enough pieces here to make a good farmhouse. I know it’s meant to be a mix box, but even using the blues I had from the car in the house it’d still be too diversely colored and sized to be pleasant. I have done some math though, and based on original pricing this is better value for your money than the Large Brick Box, which you’d think a large set would beat out.

Final Score: 2 out of 5 Stars

Lego Architecture – Empire State Building (21002) Review

empire

Lego Architecture – Empire State Building (21002): Back to another Architecture set (as you may have noticed I have an affinity for it), but if I’m honest I’m not a huge fan of this. This is one of the 2 actual buildings I’ve seen (Big Ben being the other) and this rendition certainly captures it, but unlike Pisa or Big Ben this just doesn’t have the impact of those sets. Anyway onto the review.

 

Time to Knoll: 2 Minutes

knoll

Time to Build: 4.5 Minutes

finished

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 77 and 25 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $19.99 (On sale for 15.98 currently) on Lego and $22.21 on Amazon
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 32mm x 80mm x 44.8mm or 114.7 cm³ but because there’s a bit more on the top ~125 cm³

blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So then for this week I started getting it into my head about what I would change for this set, my problem being that to get enough Tan/Brick Yellow parts I would need to start buying sets like these which are full of them. So I then began playing around with Lego’s Digital Designer – which if you’re not familiar is basically a program that let’s you build virtual Lego sets. (You used to be able to order the set, but sadly that’s no longer available, there’s always Bricklink though!)

Anyway I began cobbling about some designs, mostly doing certain sections – but hey these reviews are weekly and doing a set like that in small scale properly (and virtually) was a little out there (but hey maybe there might be a future post when I can’t have a review for the week.)

As such I decided to see how long it would take me to do the same set virtually, (15 minutes) and then offer up the file here so that others could give it a crack as well in modifications (post them in comments below!) and look forward to usage of LDD in future reviews for more grandiose purposes.

empire_digital

 

Remix: This week there wasn’t as much to work with as most everything was the same color and size. I decided to be a bit creative to move pieces around so it wasn’t as uniform and made a windmill.

windmill

 

Final Thoughts: Overall like I’ve said while I get the mindset of a set that is the most distilled essence of the set, and not an accurate representation – it’s not my favorite. Having seen the other Architecture sets this just doesn’t feel as nice – it lacks the impact that the other sets bring to the table.

Final Score: 2 out of 5 Stars

Lego Bricks & More – Large Brick Box (6166) Review

largebrickbox

Lego Bricks & More – Large Brick Box (6166): One of a few sets that came in a lot I recently bought (this one was actually still in bags!) I first thought this to be an old set, but there’s a few things (such as the different wheel types, lighter blues, etc) that make it a much more recent set (although still retired just last year). As for whether this is a set worth getting to bolster your collection let’s get into it first.

 

Time to Knoll: 16.5 Minutes

IMG_0976

Time to Build: 7 Minutes (For first image), then 9 Minutes for the second build as laid out by instructions (some key pieces overlap)

IMG_0978 IMG_0983

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 405 and 46 total Steps across a few builds – Manual
  • Price: Retired on Lego (was 29.99) and $119.99 on Amazon (Although it comes with a carrying plastic case)
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 128mm x 128mm x 57.6mm or 943.7 cm³ at least for the main section, I divided up the top parts and the final total is actually ~989.8 cm³

IMG_0985

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So then before we discuss my remix, I found this set and wanted to know what was the rarest part of it. Clearly this isn’t an all-brick set like one of it’s siblings, but the pieces for the most part seemed pretty common. Thankfully with sites like Brickset, I could look into this and found it was the window pane.

4113170

Well that’s not as exciting, so let’s pull back a bit and see what non-minifig/door/window/baseplate piece is the most rare. (With the notion of it being more likely to be reused) and we find it’s a humble Red 2×8.

6036408

This struck me as odd, but then again while the 2×4 and 2×6 are used often, and even the longer 2×10 is more common it makes sense that with more classic sets they’re more likely to throw in 2 2×4 than a single 8.

 

Remix: Anyway for a remix here I had many doors and windows and wheels, and rather than trying to break it up, I took a bit of inspiration from Howl’s Moving Castle and made what’s below. I’m not too pleased with it, but it’s now got me looking into what it take to make Howl’s actual castle more realistically – so kudos for that, because that’s surely an interesting build that I’d I get into on this site.

IMG_0988IMG_0992

 

Final Thoughts: Here though I must confess that while this came to me in a lot with 2 other sets (and more) I don’t know if I’d have considered it for the even the original price of $30, but certainly not for the 80-120 it’s going for on Amazon. While it’s a great add to my collection, I wish sets like these were more likely to include darker and less often found colorings as it’s more often those that you need to complete the esoteric sets. I’m also not a fan of how the instructions for this requires you to re-use a few central parts a few times over, and that they didn’t give you multiples of that part, but that’s a more theological gripe.

Final Score: 2 out of 5 Stars

Lego The Long Ranger – Stagecoach Escape (79108) Review

stagecoach_stock

Lego The Long Ranger – Stagecoach Escape (79108): I will admit that no – I have not seen the Disney’s new take on the Long Ranger. Mostly because I’d seen Will Smith’s Wild Wild West and decided that was enough ‘odd’ western movies for me. However I was intrigued by this set, because I do love a good western theme, and the stagecoach is nice. The set itself does a few things I like most notably the play in the wheels of the coach.

 

Time to Knoll: 11.5 Minutes

stagecoach_knoll

Time to Build: 32 Minutes

stagecoach_built

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 279 and 87 Steps – Manual (Although the steps are set in a bunch of substeps)
  • Price: Retired on Lego and $53.00 on Amazon
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): Now see this was a bit harder this time because of different types so I split it to be more accurate. First the blocky part, 64mm x 80mm x 72.0mm or 368.6 cm³ Then the round parts for 10.81 cm³+ 12.82 cm³ + 3.217 cm³+ 0.9425 cm³ = 27.79 cm. Finally I tried to find a nice way to measure of the volume of a horse, and ended up in an article about horse sized ducks and forgot what I was doing. So we get a total of 396.39 cm³

stagecoach_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 2 out of 5 Stars – Western is sadly common.
  • Aesthetics: 4 out of 5 Stars – This does look nice for a display.
  • Fun to Build: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So despite the fact that initial estimates had The Lone Ranger losing 190 Million. We instead have values that it actually lost 95-120 million instead. Now let’s make a few assumptions. First while right now Amazon has only 16 sets from Lego at the price of 53 USD (with other sellers having as low as 46 USD) let’s assume that all other resellers had the same price as Lego.

Let’s also assume that the 225 million of the original movie is how much it actually cost, and that the Lego sets were included in that (they weren’t). And that each Lego set sold was pure profit to make back the 94,748,943 dollars we need to break even. How many sets would we need?

About 1,787,716. Now when I considered this exercise I thought it’d be cute to have an image with an icon to show the stagecoach and then have the image go off the screen, but my image program crashed trying to do that. So let’s just go with a lot.

 

 

Remix: Anyway I am as always tasked to do a remix, and sadly I was a little stumped on what to do here. Too much of it was unique (even considering I don’t include minifigs – which I extended to the horses). So I went with an iron giant/Laputa style mecha, but while I’m pleased with some of the things I did on it – I’m not proud of it as a whole

stagecoach_remix

 

 

Final Thoughts: Overall I think my favorite part of this set is how much thought and good design went into the wagon itself. It perfectly captures that rickety feel to the parts and movement without it feeling weak or loose. Minifigs aside this could be any stagecoach really, and that’s something a lot of kids I feel would want, but then again they didn’t grow up with Johnny Depp in their western movies…

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Lego Architecture – Big Ben (21013) Review

bugbenlego

Lego Architecture – Big Ben (21013): This build is actually a bit more special for me as it’s one I’ve actually seen in real life. While the Architecture line is meant to be a showcase of buildings, my main gripe with this particular model is that it’s not just surrounded by an equally scaled London with other buildings like the Shard and Cheese Grater with the Thames running through it. I see this, and I just want a mini London (begins planning side-project)

 

Time to Knoll: 9.5 Minutes

knollbigben

Time to Build: 25 Minutes

builtbigben

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 346 and 52 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $29.99 on Lego and $48.42 on Amazon (Because it’s currently Out of Stock on Lego)
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 48mm x 80mm x 64mm or ~245.8 cm³

bigben_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So I think we’re all familiar with this iconic finale of V for Vendetta. Here we see Big Ben and the Buildings of Parliament being blown to pieces very spectacularly. They use a train to explode the building in the movie, but it begs the question of how much explosive force would we need to use to blow up our miniature building.

Now of course a very very small amount of high explosives or C4 could do the job, but since we want a showy explosion let’s use gunpowder. Because we also know (thanks to 3d printed firearms) that a 5.7×28 rifle cartridge contains enough explosive force to destroy ABS plastic of something of about the same size let’s use one of those. (If we got fancy we could even pack  our own bullet and add some other chemicals such as Barium Nitrate or Lithium Carbonate to make it more showy)

Based on dimensions of the bullet from Wikipedia we know a few things. First even if we don’t take the casing off – the bullet has a diameter of 7.9mm meaning it’d happily fit in a 1 wide Lego train interior! However because it’d be 40.50mm long we’d need to have a train car interior be 6 wide to fit the whole bullet (we could then try to fit a firing mechanism in another train car behind it)

Of course since I don’t have a gun license (although apparently most anyone can buy ammo), and a desire to blow up some of my Lego set. I’ll leave a physical demonstration to some enterprising soul in the comments.

 

Remix: So then as is usual with my reviews I’ve chosen a remix, and this time I decided to use the nice tan blocks and made a sort of whirlygig airship. I’m particularly pleased with the misshapen sides that look like boards thrown on clearly showing airgaps to give it a more rustic look. Happily I was able to use all pieces and didn’t even need to add any keeping well within the remix rules.

bigben_whirlygig

 

 

Final Thoughts: Like I said, this is a great model to have, but I want a mini London to use like a Dresden-style Little Chicago. And for those who want some nice clock pieces as well as a bunch of tan bricks it’s a good buy (wait until it’s in stock though and at a normal price)

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Lego Minecraft – Crafting Box (21116) Review

crafting

LEGO Minecraft – Crafting Box (21116): I have long been a huge fan of Minecraft so much so that I consider myself not a fan of Minecraft, but 2 years clean. I was one of the few to be able to purchase this set this year (Amazon has it at a premium and Lego is out of stock currently), and while I had buyer’s remorse seconds after purchasing (I mean paying 2 and a half times what I paid for the game!) but once I had it in hand, I can say I’m rather pleased.

 

Time to Knoll: 28 Minutes – I love knolling, but if this was not a review, I think I’d almost just separate pieces by the way it’s given to you in Lego’s bags – there’s just too many unique pieces with not enough of them to warrant knolling.

mckern

Time to Build: 8 Minutes for the common build parts. Then I had a dilemma – this is an 8 in 1 – so do I just choose one, or do a I build them all because I feel that’s a full review. Kidding I did them all. (Click to Enlarge)

Prep: 8 Minutesprebuild

Config 1: 19 Minutes

build1

Config 2: 27 Minutes

build2

Config 3: 27 Minutesbuild3

Config 4: 20 Minutes

build4

Config 5: 22 Minutes

build5

Config 6: 24 Minutesbuild6

Config 7: 27 Minutes

build7

Config 8: 25 Minutes

build8

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 518 and a variable number of Steps (due to manual(s) offering 8 configurations) And oh yes there are 2 manuals, 1 for the main setup, and another for sections. Also be aware, configurations often leave many pieces behind (up to 100+).
  • Price: $89.99 on Amazon, and $49.99 normally on Lego (but out of stock)
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): (minifigs not included) 64mm x 128mm x 144mm or 1180cm³

blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 5 out of 5 Stars (Since it’s kinda very up to you)
  • Aesthetics: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 5 out of 5 Stars (Just so many earthy tone pieces)

 

What Else?

I like the sections, but I do have an issue with them, they are just too flimsy when connected. I really like the modular construction idea (which shows in my remix), but on it’s own I can’t lift the set up without it falling apart. So I decided to make my own variant (it’s Minecraft for pete’s sake) and posted that here. But as a treat it’s here in Lego, and in actual Minecraft.

mymc

mymcback

mcbuild-Minecraft

However despite the nature of this build, I did try and do a proper remix, and decided on a modular space station (inspired a bit/lot by Spacebase DF-9) Which let me change enough that it doesn’t feel too much like just MC in a different way.

Remix:

IMG_0926

Keeping with rules of the remix I’ve not included the bread and carrot (as this is a slightly larger scale). Note this doesn’t have minifigs as those are exempt from remixes (and the scale again would be wrong)

 

Final Thoughts: While I saw the vignettes, and the micro worlds for Minecraft before – in truth the second I heard there was going to be a Lego set based on the game, I wanted this crafting box. It’s not perfect, and I think it owes a lot to Minecraft’s desire to make things in your own image (a lot of the things they show in the set kinda violate MC’s ‘physics’) It’s a great set to have, and for me its benefits mean my friends (read: jerks) can mess around with the set when they visit putting things out of place.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 Stars